Romanian authorities have arrested white nationalist brawler Robert Rundo at the request of American authorities, according to several local media reports.
The reports indicate that Rundo, 33, was arrested at a gymnasium in the Romanian capital, Bucharest on March 31, after U.S. officials requested his extradition to the United States to face trial on federal rioting charges.
At least one outlet reported that Rundo had been traveling in the country with a falsified identity document.
Rundo has resided in southeastern Europe since 2019, leaving the United States after the initial prosecution over his activities as leader of the Rise Above Movement (RAM) appeared to collapse.
At that time, Judge Cormac J. Carney dismissed the case against Rundo and fellow RAM members Robert Boman, Tyler Laube, and Aaron Eason, finding that aspects of the 1968 federal Riot Act were unconstitutional.
Rundo continued to live as a fugitive until his apparent arrest this week regularly changing his country of residence. During this time he networked with European extremists, while recruiting and producing propaganda for Media2Rise and his “active clubs,” the loose network of organizations that he founded as a successor to RAM.
At times, Rundo has appeared to flaunt his status as a fugitive. In a May 17, 2022, recording that Rundo uploaded to his personal Telegram channel, for instance, he compared himself to the fictional Central Intelligence Agency assassin, Jason Bourne, who evades multiple government-led attempts to murder him a five-movie series.
“My goal is to be James Bond someday. But right now, I’m Jason Bourne. I’m on the run. I’m on the nitty-gritty side of things, you know what I mean? Going from country to country,” Rundo said in the May 17, 2022, audio recording.
Bellingcat first identified Rundo in Serbia through a March 2020 video that the white nationalist shared on YouTube.
Hatewatch and Bellingcat subsequently reported that Rundo continued to live intermittently in Serbia, where he was visited by a former Marine and San Diego-based active club recruit, Grady Mayfield. While Mayfield was in-country, the two filmed an interview with far-right Serbian nationalist Damnjan Knežević.
Later, Bellingcat reported that Rundo had relocated to Bulgaria, where he and several other men filmed a propaganda video advertising Rundo's fashion brand at a Roman ruin in the city of Plovdiv. The same Bellingcat reporter identified one of the white nationalist’s several Telegram channels sharing videos from Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia as recently as March 12.
Earlier this year, Hatewatch reported that a leaked list from the Department of Homeland Security's Terrorist Screening Center had Rundo marked as "no-fly," meaning that he should be prevented from boarding an aircraft flying to, from, within, or over the U.S.
Hatewatch and Bellingcat reached out to Media2Rise, a Rundo-founded propaganda outlet, via email for comment. They did not respond. Hatewatch and Bellingcat also reached out to Mayfield over Telegram. Mayfield replied, "As long as we have a youth that stands for all that is strong and manly, our future is assured."
If extradited, Rundo will face charges arising from his alleged actions at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally, where members participated in the notorious torchlit march on the grounds of the University of Virginia, and the next day allegedly took part in the violence that consumed the event.
Footage and photographs taken that day show members assaulting counterprotesters.
Following Unite the Right, separate cases were brought against RAM members in California and Virginia.
In Virginia in 2019, Benjamin Daley, Thomas Gillen and Michael Miselis pleaded guilty to federal riot offenses. All received prison sentences: Daley for 37 months, Gillen for 33 months and Miselis for 27 months. Another member, Cole White, was released on the basis of time served after cooperating with prosecutors.
RAM's participation in Unite the Right followed a pattern set by their violent attacks on leftist counterprotesters at pro-Trump and “alt-right” rallies in Huntington Beach and Berkeley, California, in spring 2017.
Graphic images of the violence they perpetrated at those rallies were celebrated by far-right groups and individuals, including the man then acting as their “in-house propagandist,” Vincent James Foxx.
“lot of talk of being the most ‘radical’ and ‘optics’ but if you don’t have grainy black and white footage stabbing ms13 gangbangers or smashing antifa you might be the optics cuck [laughing emoji] [laughing emoji] [laughing emoji] [laughing emoji],” Rundo wrote in a March 13 post on Telegram, appearing to refer to the pending federal charges against him, as well as his 2009 arrest for stabbing a rival gang member from MS-13 in Queens, NY.
“just kidding relax and don’t take your self [sic] too serious there guys,” Rundo added.
This article was produced in partnership with Bellingcat, an investigative reporting outlet.
Photo illustration by SPLC